WhyBike Motorcycle Blog

How Does it Feel to Ride on a Motorcycle?

By James - 2/21/2005

Call me a techie geek but my server logs are a daily source of wonder for me. I think about the people who typed them in and if my site was of any help to them. I ponder if the person who typed “K75″ in Google and then clicked on my site was amused or shocked by the story of the guy on the BMW K75 hitting a deer. I wonder if the person who typed in “125cc ninja bikes” found my article on starter bikes helpful. But today someone came to my site after searching the internet for “how does it feel to ride on a motorcycle?“. I wondered if I helped to answer their question.

I tried to think of a metaphor for riding but none were appropriate. I can talk about how to ride a motorcycle and I can talk about what you need to ride a motorcycle but how does it feel to ride on a motorcycle is a question that only experience can answer. All I can say is that sometimes it is the best and sometimes it is the worst. It is alternating fun and scary. It is relaxing yet keeps you on your toes. It is a contradiction that most people see as crazy but you will never realize the benefits unless you throw a leg over and roll back the throttle.

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Mailbag - Honda Rebel as a Starter Bike

By James - 2/14/2005

I recieved an email about my opinion of the Honda Rebel as a “starter bike". . .

I took motorcycle lessons in Sept & I passed the course, but I haven’t taken the written at DMV to get M-license. I am thinking about getting a Honda(Rebel). Since I’m 5′1″, do you think that bike would be alright for a starter bike? Please give me your opinion.

- B. Brown

Great job taking and passing the motorcycle course! It is a great investment. Now you can look forward to ambiguous questions followed by four correct answers on the DMV test. You must pick the “most” correct answers to pass the test and get your license. It can be fustrating but keep at it. A Class M license is a great thing to have.

The Honda Rebel is a great bike. My wife Rachel rides an ‘85 and have had no complaints about it; it still runs strong. When getting your first bike you have to consider a couple things.

First is comfort. It takes about six months to get really comfortable with your first motorcycle so I like to advise people to get a 125 or 250cc bike. They are generally the lightest and most forgiving in case you forget to put your kickstand down and have to pick it back up. You sit lower on the cruisers like the Yamaha Virago 250, Suzuki GZ250 and Honda Rebel. The Ninja 250 has a higher seat hight and at 5′1″ you may not be able to flat foot it. Kawasaki and AlphaSports both have 125cc bikes that may feel better for you. My wife got her license this summer and we decided on a used Honda Rebel. She is about 5′8″ and in California 250ccs are the minimum displacement engines allowed on the freeway. She commutes from Oakland to San Francisco and the only way over the water is on the freeway otherwise we would have gotten a 125.

Second is power. Generally women and people over 30 know enough to ride within their limits, but younger motorcyclists have a tendancy to use all the power of a motorcycle whenever they can. Once you learn when to use your power you can move up to a bigger bike, but until then, 125s and 250 teach you great motorcycle skills, ones you will absolutely need once you upgrade. You think you are exempt from small bikes because you just know you will outgrow them? Well this is the exact reason you are not. Take a look at what the Marmot says on buying your first bike…

Third is cost. There is a good chance you will drop your first bike. You will still be learning to ride 20 years from now and the first 6 months are the hardest. The 125 and 250 classes of motorcycles are good because repair costs are low and the initial investment to purchase one can be under $1000 for a used bike in good condition. Multiply that by 4-10 times for a new or used 600cc bike. You want to get good on a “beater” then move up after you get all of the mistakes out of your system. As my wife learned this weekend when a driver backed into her bike and took off, a used 250cc bike is a good thing to have. If they had hit my V-Star and skewed the forks, bent the fender, damaged the tire and scratched the paint, I would be looking at over $3000 as opposed to $300 for the Rebel.

For more information from Rebel Owners, try the Rebel-Riders Group at Yahoo.

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How to Steal a Motorcycle

By James - 2/13/2005

I read my website logs almost daily. It tells me how may pages were requested, who is reading my blog (their IP) and which articles are the most popular. But these are all warm ups for I really care about. The “headliner” in my opinion is the “Search Query Report". When you enter in a search in Google or Yahoo and then click through to my site, the server logs the words you entered I then go through the logs and see what people are searching for. I see a lot of queries on “motorcycle accidents” and “motorcycle cold weather” but today one caught my attention. It was not that a lot of people search for it, but the reasons behind the search that worried me. The lone query, second from the bottom read:

how to steal a viper motorcycle alarm

Someone typed this into Yahoo and expected to find an answer. If I thought it would do any good I would report their IP adress to the authorities. Keep an eye on your bike or park it in a safe location. If you are looking for some extra security for your ride, take a look at my advice, How and When to Lock your Motorcycle.

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Bending the Laws

By James - 2/7/2005

Forty Years on Two Wheels has an interesting post about the future of transportation that got me thinking. What is the purpose of a law if law enforcers allows people break them? I have never understood why not raise the fine for speeding to $100,000.00 or throw them in jail? If the police want to stop people from speeding, surely that would do it. It would be a life changing event if you were caught.

I think the fines are more of a revenue source than a actual deterent. Excessive speed accounts for most auto fatalities and we have the means to stop it if we wanted to. But convienence outweighs the grim realities and as motorcyclists we are on the front lines of this.

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Power of blog

By James - 2/3/2005

In an earlier post I wrote about my Heads Up Display mock up. If successful I could draw a speedometer going 200 mph, and pretend I was going that fast. So I put a Post-It on my helmet visor. Unfortunately I couldn’t read the “Hello World” test because the focal length was too short and gave up my quest of the land speed record in my head. Within two hours of my post the company that produces these neat gadgets wrote back and assured me that their technology is more advanced than my crude Post-It-on-the-visor mock up.

We were sent a link which led to your comment regarding our SportVue Heads Up Display (HUD). One of the technologies we have that makes SportVue HUD work is the optics system that focuses the image to near infinity. Therefore, the image is not seen like a note 3″ from your eye. Instead, the image is projected thru a patented optic system which makes it focused at a distance similar to your focal point during normal riding (20+ feet). We hope this helps.

Comment by The SportVue Team — 2/2/2005 @ 2:55 pm

Now I knew their product would work and be safe, they have people far smarter than me working on the project. What surprised me is that their marketing team was so quick to squash any potentially negative press. I thought the post reflected my stupidity more than the viability of the actual product but that they were so quick to respond is a sign that they take this stuff seriously. That is the kind of place I want to work for. I wonder if they have any openings in Marketing for a guy with an interest in motorcycles . . .

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HosenPants

By James - 2/2/2005

I added HosenPants to the list of motorcycle blogs that the aggregator checks.

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Heads Up Display for Motorcyclists Gives me a Headache

By James -

I just read Heads Up Display for Motorcyclists over at BikerNewsOnline and got excited about the advancement. But then I got to thinking . . . Can people (can I) focus on a visor when it is only 3 inches from your eye? I just did an experiment and I wrote “Hello World” on a Post-it and put it on my visor. I put on the helmet and I couldn’t read it. It was too close. Anybody know the workaround for this other than moving the visor out to 6 inches?

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How To Videos

By James - 2/1/2005

I have been having a lot of fun mounting my camera to my handlebars and recording the twisties up here in Northern California. But I am always on a quest for something new, something different to push the boundries of the web and have come up with an idea. An article is good for telling you how to do something but it is better when a video shows you how to do something. Mix these three elements:

“How To” Videos
Motorcycle Maintenance
Girls in Bikinis

I may be on to something . . . Let me check out the logistics and see what I can get up on the site.

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